Thursday, February 15, 2007
Blessed are the Meek
She walked through the door wearing a drool splattered sweater, and an exasperated spark in her eyes. She could tolerate the physical stress of restricting the limbs of her primary pupil, a fifteen-year-old boy with the mind of a toddler, and she was up for the countless repetitions necessary for guiding him in dropping the square through its appropriate hole in the shape sorter, but she had very little patience for injustice.
I poured her a cup of coffee, my dear, beautiful friend, while she spilled her grievances at my kitchen table. You see, she hated to be a nag, or even worse a goodie-two-shoes, but how could she not complain when such unreasonable measures had been taken to prevent her student, one of the more difficult to bring out in public, from participating in a class field trip?
One could argue that it didn’t really matter, that taking any of these kids out to lunch, to a park, or to a bookstore where patrons stared, smiled awkwardly, or rubbed their own pregnant bellies with a sense of dread (what if … oh, please, no), was essentially just a way to bide time. More than likely, he would not be dwelling on the disappointment of staying in the classroom, and how convenient that his signed permission slip came a day too late.
I tried to conjure up her passion for protecting the rights of someone hopelessly unable to protect his own, but not all hearts are created equal. Mine could only dress the part of empathetic protester, wearing borrowed convictions and a mimicked frown. Across from me, pouring her fourth packet of artificial sweetener into a lipstick stained mug, was the real deal, and I adored her for it.
I have seen her laughing while pushing that “little boy,” who in all likelihood weighed more than his slender teacher, in a modified infant swing for adults with mental and physical disabilities. I know she could be tough on him, unyielding when it came to his refusal to practice a skill he had previously mastered. She was at home in his embraces and conversed with him respectfully, never stiff or with patronization.
Sometimes, just for fun, she and her husband would pick up the boy on a Saturday morning for breakfast, and she forgave him regularly for the frustrated biting, and the mess of bodily functions he often could not control. When her own time came to be a mother, she was sick about the prospect of leaving the school and its students who had stitched themselves into the fabric of her soul. It had always been an honor for her to serve them.
That sticky sweater and furrowed brow is what pops in my mind when I think of good Samaritans and the washing of feet, all instances of meekness in action. I wish it came naturally to me. I wish that my wishes would evolve into authenticity, but my old feisty ego will not go down without a fight. If it were easy to soap up a rag and kneel before my neighbor, than I wouldn't have to think up so many legitimate excuses for not doing it. And Jesus could have used words only to emphasize the importance of servitude defining His followers, rather than driving the point home by example.
If serving others did, in fact, define me, rather than merely describing an aspect of my character, than seizing opportunities to soothe the wounds of others would be my first priority, by default. The fact that I agonize over how and when I could possibly find the time to stop for that stranger, unconscious in a ditch beside the road, reveals a little something about my line of reasoning - a line that begins and ends with me.
“Blessed are the Meek,” and blessed will I be if I believe in the miracle of transformed hearts and supernatural interventions. Blessed will I be if I stop huffing and puffing in a useless effort to blow down the bricks, all built up, protecting my interests. For blessed are they who trust Christ enough to finally stop trying, and fork over the measly amount of love they have in exchange for a love that is perfect, inexhaustible, and available to anyone who takes the time to ask.
And then, when my eyes are opened, and the possibilities to share that hope become all I can see, hear, taste, and feel, then blessed will you and I both be by the insanity of such heavenly satisfaction.